‘Learn from the past’: Shareholders warn Qantas against considering Alan Joyce bonuses

The Qantas board is being urged to listen to the “strong message from Qantas shareholders on bonuses”, as a third-party review decides whether former chief Alan Joyce should receive $16 million in bonuses.

The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors, which represents a number of super funds that hold more than 10% of Qantas shares, has spoken out against the bonuses, pointing out that shareholders spoke loud and clear at last year’s AGM, where they voted against paying executive bonuses.

“The 83 per cent vote against the remuneration report last year was a strong message from Qantas shareholders on bonuses,” ACSI chief executive Louise Davidson said.

“The board has taken on that feedback, and we would expect it to be reflected in decisions regarding bonuses withheld.”

Former Boston Consulting Group strategy chief Colin Carter is currently weighing up if Joyce met the performance measurements required to receive payments, split between $13.97 million in long-term bonuses, and short-term bonuses totalling $2.19 million. This was on top of Joyce’s $21.4 million salary.


Following the ACCC’s action against Qantas, who they alleged “engaged in false, misleading or deceptive conduct” for selling tickets for already-cancelled flights, Qantas chair Richard Goyder froze short-term bonuses for its senior executives.

“While the ACCC’s recent allegations are untested, the Board understands shareholder and community concerns about them coinciding with significant executive pay outcomes,” Goyder wrote in a statement, following the airline’s 2023 report.

“As part of good governance, after applying the 20 per cent reduction the Board will withhold the balance of the FY23 short term incentive for senior executives while this matter progresses.

“There are already clawback provisions on significant amounts of remuneration awarded but not yet released that would be used if significant misconduct was ultimately found.

“In the case of Alan Joyce’s remuneration for FY23, in addition to $2.2 million in short term bonuses that have been withheld, a further $8.3 million of a total adjusted $21.4 million is subject to clawback should the Board determine that necessary. When combined with additional long-term incentives already granted, a total of $14.4 million is subject to malus and clawback if considered necessary.”

The Australian Shareholders Association policy and advocacy manager Fiona Balzer told The Australian she hopes Qantas will “learn from the past” when deciding whether to make the payments.

“We support investigation into the timing of payments and what was known at the time those decisions were made, in the context of the then current contracts and policies,” she said.

“The review should ensure the company learns from the past and updates its policies and practices to make sure the right behaviours and outcomes are achieved.”


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.